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Category Archives: Divorce

How We View The Divorced Parent

How many of you have seen a divorced parent and immediately proceeded to create an opinion about them based solely on the fact that you knew they were divorced. Maybe you went so far as to make assumptions about why they were divorced or how they messed things up.

Well, being divorced isn’t unlike being a parent. Unless you’ve experienced it, you simply have no clue of any aspect of it. None. It is not uncommon for those without kids to be quick to let us know how to raise our children or point out what we’re doing wrong. They’ve read all of the articles and seem to know what’s best for our kids and what they “need.” With divorce it’s probably not quite as harsh, but everyone is quick to let us know how we should handle our ex, what’s best for our kids, why we should do this or not do that etc. They tell us how much better off we are, that we need to get back on the saddle and that they wish they had our freedom.

But unless you’ve lived it and ARE living it, you have …  no … idea. It can be a constant battle to stay positive; to hold your tongue; to be2015-01-01 22.07.48 supportive; to put the kids first; to not over react; to not be resentful; to not blame; to not crash and burn. It can take all of your energy and then some. And unless you’re in the trenches immersed in the negative thoughts that are continually fighting their way through the positives, it’s impossible to truly understand what a unique experience it is and how challenging it can be.

If you see someone who’s divorced, man or woman, know that they’re doing their best with the hand they’ve been dealt; even if they were the one who dealt it in the first place. Chances are they themselves had no idea what they were getting into or what it would be like despite their best intentions. Regardless, divorced people have experienced a pain like no other. Some self inflicted and some completely undeserved. It is not an easy road. And all you can do is keep moving. For to stop is death. If you don’t keep your mind busy, it will sink into a muck of self torture. If you don’t keep your body busy, it will not only cause your muscles to fail you, but your mind as well.

If you see a divorced dad, and you see him loving his kids, getting groceries, coaching a basketball game, or even just sitting having a cup of coffee; take a moment to recognize that he is changing the definition of a dad. He is involved. He is trying and quite possibly even more involved now as a divorced dad than he was as a married one. Believe it or not, dads can multi-task, cook, clean, dress their kids and coddle them when they’re sick. We can organize a birthday party and get them where they need to be on time. We check home work and actually want to be on the school’s e-mail list. But for some reason, too often, assumptions are made and divorced dads are seen as the weekend babysitter. As someone with 50/50 custody I can assure you that’s not always the case any more. The landscape is changing.

So whatever you do, don’t judge him. I promise you, divorced parents are pretty good at doing plenty of that to themselves; virtually all day. I get it. Not all dads, divorced or otherwise are gems. But we don’t all personify the stereotype of the cheating deadbeat. We hate that we ended up here and work hard not to focus on the fact that this isn’t what we planned. There are plenty of aspects about divorce that we disdain. But they come with the territory and all you can do is carry on and attempt to do better.

So please. If you have a friend who’s a divorced parent; know that there’s a lot going on under the surface. Probably not unlike your own life, but a lot more intense as there’s likely an additional layer of guilt spread over it. But aside from the occasional jerk, which let’s face it exist both in divorce and marriage, there are more and more divorced dads doing the best they can and they’re doing everything in their power to make it better for themselves and their children. There are indeed a growing number of them who are stepping up their game and doing their part to change the way single dads are viewed.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Divorce

 

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TEAM DIVORCED DADS!

It dawned on me this week that life as a divorced dad is often way too much like being a Buffalo Bills fan. The longer your experience in either capacity, the easier it is to become more cynical and pessimistic. In both instances we start off largely optimistic and excited for the coming game or season. We know deep down that a lot of it is wishful thinking, but convince ourselves that the adjustments made during the off season will no doubt lead to success and a big win.

As kickoff looms, we wake up excited about the game and prepare ourselves for the grandeur of overcoming the odds and being Divorced Dadvictorious. It usually starts off innocent enough with several great plays in our favor and we may even be ahead at half time. But all too often, somewhere around the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th quarter our enthusiasm is deflated by one or two events that blow the whole game and bring us back down to reality.

We wake up Monday morning mad at ourselves for believing yesterday was going to be different. How could we be so ignorant? How could we be so naive?

Well. I will tell you. We aren’t ignorant. Nor are we naive. We’re believers. We’re eternal optimists. For to be anything else would be way too freaking depressing. And you know what else? You’re not the only fan experiencing it. All around the world, others just like you woke up Monday morning feeling stupid. There’s something comforting about that fact. There’s a brother (or sister) hood for those who know the same pain. We cry on each other’s shoulders. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a knowing nod when we pass by someone wearing a Jim Kelly jersey. It’s that look that says, “I feel ya.”

On the day after your divorce was finalized, you may have woken up and thought, “How could I be so ignorant?” How could I be so Screen shot 2015-02-14 at 10.44.31 PMNaive?” Hell, it’s been four years and sometimes I still wake up with those questions. But you weren’t ignorant. You weren’t naive. You were a believer. And you know what? The game isn’t over. Far from it. It’s not too late to make some minor adjustments. Learn from the losses. Find strength from the defeats.

What makes it all possible is being part of the same team. And so, like any great franchise, I thought why not us? Why can’t we be a team?! And so I give you Team Divorced Dads. Complete with it’s own line of apparel & gifts. Now we can tell the whole world we’re part of the same team. There to cry on each other’s shoulder after every heartbreaking defeat. And there to high five each other on every victory.

It’s a brother hood only those who have played the game would understand. And come this Monday morning, we’ll be able to pass each other on the street and with one glance give each other some well earned support! Who knows this may even become a movement that allows us to bring attention to how much divorce has changed over the past few decades and how far we’ve come as fathers.

Visit – http://www.teamdivorceddads.com and get yourself a t-shirt or a bumper sticker. (I even threw in some clothes for the kids and for the women in your lives who have helped you threw it all). Then let me know the first time someone sees you in your shirt and gives you the nod that lets you know, “I’m part of the team!”

The point? Whether or not you where it on your sleeve (literally), know that you aren’t alone. Others have faced the same hurdles and fears. It won’t fix everything, but sometimes just knowing you’re not alone helps get you back into the huddle.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Divorce

 

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Wait! I’ve Got a Coupon!

Quick tip for those of you grappling with finances and looking for ways to stretch every dollar as you figure out how to afford life as a divorced dad. I’ve written before about the need to write out a monthly budget and the power of just knowing what it’s costing you to live.copon One thing I’ve learned is there are little secrets here and there that can save you a buck or two which can really add up month to month. It may be buying sporting gear for little league, buying shoes or even something as innate as buying eyeglasses on-line. Well recently, I became aware of an amazing tool for shoppers; on-line coupons and coupon apps.

Example: One day my kids and I walked into Michael’s (an arts/crafts chain). We spent around twenty minutes looking around and after each kid picked out their project of choice, we headed for the check out. My eldest tapped me on the shoulder and handed me her phone. “What?” I asked her. She just said, “Here.” Again, trying to focus on the transaction I asked, “What, can’t it wait?” She pointed out that on her phone was a coupon. Being in the midst of herding cats I was a little indifferent and responded with a quick, “whatever” and moved on. So she handed her phone to the cashier who proceeded to scan her phone. “DING.” The total for child number one’s project suddenly went down by 50%. Sure enough. There on her phone was a coupon for 50% off one item at check out. Amazing.

After proclaiming her my new favorite I asked her  what other coupons she had on her phone. I quickly learned from my daughter, as well as searching on-line, that a lot of stores have apps that allow you to collect instant savings at checkout. Who knew? Target for example has their Cartwheel. This one’s great for those of you with tween or teen daughters who continually find that “one” sweater they don’t have. 30% off adds up over time and all it takes is a quick look before you check out to see if an item has a coupon.

“What about you? Do you have a favorite app generated means of saving money at checkout? Here’s the place to share it!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in budgets, coupons, Divorce, Shopping

 

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Divorced Dad OS 48.1.15

Lately I’ve been feeling more and more like the harddrive on my iMac.

There was a time when it was the coolest, trendiest model. It had all the latest gadgets and way more capacity than any computer before it. Older models had a hard time keeping up with its lightning fast processing capabilities and it could withstand hours and hours of non-stop processing without crashing.

Now, a few years and several thousand projects later, it’s running slower. Takes forever to get going. It runs out of memory way too often and requires constant rebooting, even after the simplest of tasks. It has trouble running multiple applications at the same time,aboutthisdivorceddad
especially some of the newer ones that require more memory. Updating its system helped but also created incompatibilities with some of the older installed programs causing it to freeze up from time to time.

The worst part is that its once spacious drive is now constantly near capacity. There are files I know I should just get rid of, as they’re just clutter that tends to slow down the entire system. But sometimes it’s hard to just ‘delete’ them because some hold special memories and you never know when you may need to access them again. So I’m constantly moving files around in a never ending attempt to clean up the damn thing.

Then just about the time I have it looking more organized and running smoothly, the kids get on it and start downloading things, leaving things on the desktop and the next thing you know it’s all cluttered again and nothing is where I put it and I can’t function … I mean “IT” can’t function properly and needs another reboot.

Maybe it’s time to seriously go in, back up some essential files and images I don’t wanna lose, erase the whole thing and start over. I could add some new memory and install new system software. As hard as it would be, getting rid of a lot of the old files I never access any more would give me room to add some newer, more current, apps, maybe upload some new images and start building new projects. Would probably help it run faster and smoother without all the fragmentation.

Would mean shutting the system down for maintenance which may be inconvenient to some, but it’ll probably be better for everyone in the long run. So if you’ll excuse me I think I’m going to do a “save” and shut it down for a bit.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Divorce, stress

 

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It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose – (blah blah blah)

Heading into the 4th quarter, my son’s basketball team was up by six. It was a low scoring affair as most games featuring 8-9 year olds are. It all fell apart for them and they ended up losing by six. My son was completely dejected. He hadn’t had his best game and when it was over he came to the sideline to meet up with us and started to tear up a bit. He was heartbroken.

When the dust settled we all got together for lunch (his mom, sisters, him and I). While we were waiting on our food I leaned across the table and told him I was proud of him. He looked at me with this shocked look on his face and peered at me inquisitively. I continued; Basketballshot“You never quit. You never pointed a finger at another player. You didn’t beat yourself up when you made a mistake. You respected your coach. You gave it your all. You fought to the very end. Overall you played with maturity and I could never ask more of you.” I know, I know, it was a little cliche’. But I meant every word.

I have to admit I was kind of taken aback when he looked at me with a bit of a sigh of relief. I half expected him to brush it off and remind me of all the negatives. Or tell me, “You have to say that because you’re my dad.” But he didn’t. As I leaned back to make room for our waiter to place our plates down, my son just sat there, kind of perked up a bit and smiled.

It’s so easy to tell a kid how they need to act mature and roll with the punches isn’t it? Easy to judge their actions and approach to life and offer our worldly advice. But what about us? What about the parent? Who’s coaching us? After lunch the kids went with their mom. When I got home I thought about my week. Thought about how many times I missed the shot or turned the ball over. There were more than a few this week. And then I looked in the mirror and smiled. I felt very much like my son as I visualized him walking across the court beating himself up over the game. Replaying over and over every error and kicking myself. But one of the things I love about having kids is how often I learn more about myself simply by watching my children grow. The words I say to the kids reverberate in my head and quite often I find that the very speech I gave my kid is one I needed to hear myself.

The truth is we’re all kids at heart. We may age on the outside. But inside we’re still nine on so many levels. We take on the world with more experience every day, but still battle the same insecurities we did when we were in elementary school. Despite a few more decades under our belts, we’re still pretty good at beating ourselves up when we make mistakes. Just like our kids, sometimes we need to be reminded that how we handle our mistakes is more important than if we win the game.

I truly was proud of my son this afternoon. He became a little more of a young man today. He may have missed a shot or two, but his attitude, well that was a slam dunk. I can only hope I can say the same for myself this week.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in Divorce, Talking To Kids

 

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